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CHAP. COPPER MIXED WITH SILVER.
A deux sols, or two pence trench, and one penny english,
is nearly the size of our sixpence, but is copper, with a white or silverish mixture, twelve of these make a vingt quatre sols piece, or one shilling english.
They have also another small piece of nearly the same size and colour, but not so white, and rather thinner, which is one sol and a half, three halfpence french, or three farthings english.
A sol is like our halfpenny, value one penny french, or a halfpenny english, twenty-four of these make an english shilling. A deux Hard piece is half a sol french, or a farthing english. A Hard is a farthing french, and of the value of half a farthing english.
A thirty sols piece, is a very beautiful and convenient coin, worth one shilling and three pence english, having a good impression of the late king's head on one side, and the goddess of liberty on the other; it was struck in the early part of the revolution.
A fifteen sols piece is half of the above and very convenient.
COPPER. TOWN OF HAVRE.
A six Hard is a bit of copper composition, such as the fine cannon are made of, and is worth three sols french, or a halfpenny, and a farthing english.
A cinq centimes is worth a halfpenny and half a farthing english.
The centimes are of the value of half farthings, five of which arc equal to the last coin, they are very small and neat.
An early knowledge of these coins, is very necessary to a stranger, on account of the dishonest advantages which french tradesmen take of their english customers.
To return to my narrative: finding ourselves at liberty to pursue our route, we went from the municipality to the bureau des diligences, and secured our places in the voiture to Rouen, for the next day.
After this necessary arrangement, we proceeded to view the town, which is composed of long and narrow streets. The fronts of the houses, which are lofty, are deformed by the spaces between the naked intersections of the frame work being filled up with mortar, which gives them an appearance of being very heavy, and very mean.
The commerce formerly carried on at Havre, was very ex* tensive. There is here also large manufactories for lace. The theatre is very spacious, well arranged, and as far as we could judge by day-light, handsomely decorated. The players did
not 24 CITOYEN.
Chap. not perform during our stay. In the vegetable market place, which was much crowded, and large, we saw at this season of the year abundance of fine apples, as fresh in appearance as when they were first plucked from the tree.
In our way there we were accosted by a little ragged beggar boy, who addressed himself to our compassionate dispositions, by the appellation of " tres charitable citoyen," but finding we gave nothing, he immediately changed it to "mon chere ties charitable monsieur."
The strange uncouth expression of citoyen is generally laid aside, except amongst the immediate officers under government, in their official communications, who, however, renounce it in private, for the more civilized title of "monsieur."
The principal church is a fine handsome building, and had been opened for worship, the Sunday before we arrived: On that day the bell of the Sabbath first sounded, during ten years of revolution, infidelity, and bloodshed!!!
The royal arms are every where removed. They formerly constituted a very beautiful ornament over the door of the hotel "of the present prefect, at the head of the market place, but they have been rudely beaten out by battle axes, and replaced by rude republican emblems, which every where (I speak of them as a decoration) seem to disfigure the buildings which bear them. When I made this remark, I must, however, candidly confess, that my mind very cordially accompanied my eye, and that a natural sentiment mingled with the observation. The quays, piers, and arsenal are very fine, they, together with *he docks, for small ships of war and merchandize, were constructed DESERTERS. — SIR SIDNEY SMITH.
structed under the auspices of Lewis XIV, with whom this port was a great favourite.
We saw several groups of men at work in heavy chains. They were soldiers who had offended. They are dressed in red jackets and trowsers, which are supposed to increase their disgrace, on account of its being the regimental colour of their old enemy, the english. When my companion, who wore his regimentals, passed them, they all moved their caps to him with great respect.
The town, and consequently the commerce of Rouen, was most successfully blockaded, for near four years, by british commanders, during the late war, and particularly by sir Sidney Smith. It was here, when endeavouring to cut out a vessel* which in point of value, and consideration was unworthy of such an exposure, that this great hero, and distinguished being was made a prisoner of war. The inhabitants, who never speak of him, but with emotions of terror, consider this event as the rash result of a wager conceived over wine. Those who know the character of sir Sidney, will not impute to him such an act of idle temerity. No doubt he considered the object^ as included in his duty, and it is only to be lamented, that during two lingering years of rigorous, and cruel confinement, in the dungeons of the unhappy sovereign, his country was bereaved of the assistances of her immortal champion, who, in a future season, upon the shores of Acre, so nobly filled up the gloomy chasm of suspended services, by exploits, which to be believed, must'not be adequately described, and who revenged, by an act of unrivalled glory, the long endurance of sufferings, and indignities
E. hateful SIR SIDNEY SMITH. CATHARINE DE MEDICIS.
hateful to the magnanimous spirit of modern warfare, and unknown to it, until displayed within the walls of a prussian dungeon*.
I shall hereafter have occasion to mention this extraordinary character, when I speak of his escape from the Temple, the real circumstances attending which are but little known, and which I received from an authority upon which the reader may rely.
This town is not unknown to history. At the celebrated siege of it, in the time of Catharine de Medicis, that execrable princess, distinguished herself by her personal intrepidity. It is said, that she landed here, in a galley, bearing the device of the sun, with these words in greek, "I bring light, and fine weather"—a motto which ill corresponded with her conduct.
With great courage, such as seldom associates with cruel, and ferocious tyrants, she here on horseback, at the head of her army, exposed herself to the fire of the cannon, like the most veteran soldiers, and betrayed no symptoms of fear, although the bullets flew about her in all directions. When desired by the duke of Guise, and the constable de Montmorenci not to expose her person so much, the brave, but sanguinary Catharine replied, "Have I not more to lose than you, and do you think I have "not as much courage r"
The walk, through la ville de Sandwiche, to the light houses, which arc about two miles from Havre, is very pleasing. The path lay through flax and clover fields. In this part of the country, the farmers practise an excellent plan of rural economy,
* The cruel imprisonment of la Fayette is alluded to.